TEDxPenticton gets a $6,000 marketing push

Brian Hughes said TEDx Penticton is expanding this year to a incorporate a three-day IDEASfest wrapped around the main event on April 5.   - Steve Kidd/Western News
Brian Hughes said TEDx Penticton is expanding this year to a incorporate a three-day IDEASfest wrapped around the main event on April 5.
— image credit: Steve Kidd/Western News

The organizers of Penticton’s TEDx conference got a helping hand from the Penticton Hospitality Association to spread the word about the growing event.

Penticton’s third TEDx conference takes place on April 5, but organizer Brian Hughes said they are wrapping this year’s event into an IDEASfest running April 4 to 6. The grant from the PHA of $6,000, plus another $2,000 grant from the City of Penticton, he added, will help spread the word.

“It will help out enormously. It will help us do external marketing to get more people to attend the event from not only Penticton but outside of our area,” said Hughes.

“Advertising is very expensive.

“When you are putting on an event like this, you are focusing on the expenses of the event itself, and just getting it up and running.

“External marketing is always whatever is left and sometimes it is not very much.”

Hughes said they are hoping more people will come to town not just for TEDx, but for some of the other events that are already on the books for the first weekend in April, or being planned by the TEDx organizers.

“The Downtown Penticton Association is going to work with us in promoting clubs, coffee houses, things in the downtown area to also offer musicians, storytellers, comedians and to kind of make this an event people will come for the three days,” said Hughes, pointing out the Shatford Centre already has a Fawlty Towers dinner theatre production scheduled for that weekend.

Annual TED Conferences invite the world’s leading thinkers to speak for up to 18 minutes on their chosen subjects, and the TEDx conferences do the same thing, though focusing on a local scale.

TEDx Penticton attracts local world class speakers and offers a wonderful opportunity in which to showcase Penticton and Wine Country to an audience far beyond B.C. and the Pacific Northwest through the TED network,” said Rob Appelman, president of the PHA.

TEDxPenticton is the headliner for the weekend, but at the same time, Hughes said they will be running an IDEASfest for youth aged 12 to 18.

“Some of the speakers will also be overlapping, but it is focusing on youth issues, and will have TED talks and musicians and speakers,” said Hughes.

“It is becoming a family event, so it is very exciting. The PHA is very helpful with that as well, because they are looking at the big picture of getting families to Penticton and to have a festival that is not focused on extreme sports or alcohol is kind of a novelty.”

The theme for TEDx this year is Question Everything, which Hughes said came to him after a visit to Fort McMurray and learning that many of his preconceptions about that community were inaccurate.

“Don’t accept anything unless you make enquiries and delve into it. Don’t just accept things on face value,” said Hughes, summing up the concept.

Presenters for the conference are being recruited through a talent search, an idea pioneered at TED 2014, where the scope was world-wide.

“It was amazing who they came up with, so TEDx’s have been encouraged to try it, “ he said.

“We may hold auditions and get some people we never knew existed up and down the valley and have a diversification of presenters that way.”

This year’s TEDxPenticton and the IDEASfest will take place at the Lakeside Resort.

“For both events, there will be applications. People have to tell us a little bit about themselves. The TEDx will be $70 and the IDEASfest will be no charge,” he said.

Applications both to attend or be a presenter are available online at


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